The Dunedin Amenities Society are to begin the first stage of their heritage restoration project at Craigieburn tomorrow morning. Stage One of the project is the stabilisation of the oldest structure on the property a stone building above the main rimu stand on the public track. The building ruin was probably built in 1860 and is possibly the earliest structure on the site. The Society applied for and received an archaeological authority for the preservation and excavation works from the Historic Places Trust. Project manager Paul Pope has been working closely with archaeologist Dr Jill Hamel and stonemason Stuart Griffiths on the excavation and restoration works, which should take 3-5 weeks to complete.
The stone ruin alongside the walking track has been significantly damaged by visitors and the growth of several large trees growing through the substructure of the building over recent years. This damage has largely destroyed the original doorway, and the roots of the trees have moved the stone walls to a point where they are now liable to collapse. The removal of the large broadleaf (Griselinia littoralis) and kanuka (Kunzea ericoides) are essential works for this stage of the heritage preservation planned for the area. The broadleaf is in poor condition with at least 50-60 percent of the central stem rotten through to the core and a large portion of the upper canopy showing the same condition. Two other dead trees adjacent to the site which have large cracks through their central stem will also be removed as the Society works towards developing the area as a heritage trail for reserve visitors. The preservation of the historic features at the Craigieburn site are an important step in the development of the site as a heritage area, and it will provide insight and information on the life of our early colonial settlement.